It was fun, strolling through the mostly-empty streets, wishing a friendly "Merry Christmas!" to anybody who made eye contact with me. Responses were equally friendly, and the city felt a tiny bit smaller.
"How's your day going so far?" the check out guy at Wallgreen asked me.
"Actually very well, thanks. How about you?"
He shrugged a little. "Mostly good...."
"...except for having to work on Christmas," I finished his unspoken thought with a sympathetic smile.
"Well, you know there is that little issue."
"I doubt it will make you feel much better, but I really do appreciate having you here." I told him an abbreviated version of the "whipping cream story", and he smiled. We exchanged sincere smiles as I walked away, and wished each other a good Christmas.
* * *
When Willy came over, he was pretending to be a kitty. Whose name was Kitty. That's handy, because it makes it easier to remember.
When we'd been opening some gifts earlier in the day, my mom's cat had been having fun chasing balled up pieces of wrapping paper we'd thrown for her. So I asked Will, "Can you bat at paper with your paws, and chase it around the room?"
I retrieved a paper ball lost by the cat, and tossed it over his head. "Go on Kitty, there it is!"
He crawled toward it, meowing. Then he bent his head and picked up the paper with his teeth. I shrugged internally and held out my hands for it. Dog, cat, either way, he seemed to be having fun. He dropped the paper into my hands, and I threw it again.
We played this way for awhile, and I commented to my brother, "This is almost as much fun as having a puppy!" But it did feel a bit odd. When his mother saw him pick up the paper with his teeth later on, I commented: "We learned a new game today. We just can't decide if it's degrading, or fun."
But she smiled and gave him a tickle-hug. "If he's having fun, then it must be fun not degrading."
* * *
The day after Christmas, today, my bro dropped off Willy to be babysat. His daycare was closed today, and they had some stuff they wanted to do. It worked out well, because when she went into labor this afternoon Willy was already where he needed to be.
While I was eating lunch, I noticed that my wheeled kitchen chair showed a distinct tendency to roll. This is an old house, and clearly the floors are not level. The chair I was in kept drifting lightly into my parents' bedroom, unless I was quite firm in anchoring it still.
I started goofing off, pretending that it was so steep that I had to fight to stay out of the bedroom. I would have stopped at this point, but I saw that Willy was watching me and enjoying the game.
So I did it again, letting the chair roll into the bedroom then dramatically catching myself on the doorjamb at the last moment and heaving myself back into the kitchen. I swung back and forth through the doorway a few times, trying to look surprised, playing with the physical comedy of being rolled backward, then pulling yourself forward again.
Willy was laughing. "Again! Do it again!"
This time I thought more carefully about what people would see from the kitchen, and made sure that I completely disappeared until just my fingertips and part of a toe had hooked me to the doorjamb. Then I elaborately made it look like I could barely claw my way out of the bedroom, using fingernails, feet, elbows, and a little bit of pure luck. I added in a lot of wailing, moaning, gasping for air, and grunts of exertion for good measure.
It was truly a masterpiece performance. When completed, I collapsed exhausted onto the kitchen table, ready to accept my applause.
"Again! Do it again!"
Oh yes, I'd forgotten about the "do it again" thing that little kids have. The better you do something, the more times they'll want to watch it. What had I gotten myself into? But then my sister picked up my camera and raised her eyebrows significantly at me. If I did it again, she would take pictures of Will watching it.
So it was that, one final time, I allowed myself to be sucked into the vortex that is my parents' bedroom, all for the sake of art. I put on a stupendously overdramatic performance, and the crowning moment was when I slammed the bedroom door shut, saving all of the rest of us from the bedroom's vacuum powers.
"Do it again! Do it again!"
"No, I don't have to. Look - the door is closed, the kitchen is safe for us to live in again."
"Do it again!"
"Not now.... maybe later."
My sister did get a few great shots of him laughing at the performance...so it was all worth it. Plus, it was actually quite fun. (the first two times....)